How Do I Get Mentioned in a National Publication?
As a media relations specialist, one of the most common questions I receive from clients is “how do I get mentioned in a national publication?” While securing national placements may seem like a difficult task, anything is possible with the right approach.
From Forbes, to Mashable, to CNN, to the Today Show, all outlets that my clients have been featured in/on (not-so-humble brag), here are some tips for getting mentioned in a national publication:
- Do some real digging – I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the deepest, most obscure corners of a publication’s website when I’ve found a reporter who was perfect for a story I was pitching. While there have been some instances when clients have received national pick-up from a simple search on a media database like Cision, nine times out of 10, national placements are the result of hours of organic research and thorough digging into a journalist’s expertise.
- Actually read what the journalist you’re pitching has written before: This means not stopping at the headline of an article and assuming you’ve found the right media contact. If you specialize in energy, for example, don’t assume that a reporter who recently published a story on “Oil Tycoons in the Middle East” is the best person to send a pitch to. While it may seem like the right fit, the reporter could cover topics ranging from the world’s richest people, to the evils of the oil industry, to the state of the economy in the Middle East. Unless you know that a reporter is absolutely right for your story, and you’re prepared to explain why they’re right for it, don’t send him or her your pitch.
- Don’t Focus on Yourself: I know it seems counter-intuitive, but unless you’re Coca-Cola or Apple (or another Fortune 500 company), reporters at national publications probably aren’t going to care about your latest announcement. Instead, they want to know how your announcement fits into a popular trend, if other companies have similar announcements, or how your announcements specifically impacts your industry or region. To get the best coverage, try leveraging your “so what?” factor by connecting it to a broader theme or interest.
- Put Less Emphasis on Your Press Release and More Emphasis on Your Story Angle: Spamming press releases out to a bunch of reporters at national publications with a note that says “here’s my news” will get you zero pick-up. Instead of devoting hours to writing a perfectly crafted press release, approach reporters with a story angle in mind. This way, the reporter can see why your news matters and how they will transform it into an article.
- Keep It Simple: At the risk of sounding like a broken record (see my blog post on pitching media here), always keep your pitch to national media simple and to-the-point. These are people who are being solicited on new stories dozens, probably hundreds, of times every day. Factor in the pieces they are already working on and you have one very busy journalist. Don’t waste their time (or yours) by adding unnecessary detail to a pitch. Outline your angle and offer to send them more information if they are interested. Not only does this tactic keep your pitch simple, it also opens a line of communication with the reporter.
Securing national placements can take a lot of time and tons of effort, but hiring a media relations professional that is well trained to handle your outreach will save you the headache in the end. Take it from someone who has had a lot of trial and error with national media – you’ll be grateful for the experience a publicist brings to the table.